Outboard to Sign Extended Lease
CROMWELL - The Cromwell Outboard Association has agreed to the cost terms under the voter-approved lease renewal contract, although the boat club has yet to officially sign on for the additional five years swept onto the table by way of a November town-wide referendum.

       Town Manager Tony Salvatore made the announcement via email Wednesday afternoon.

       The yearly lease payments-disputed by members of the Association during meetings that followed the referendum-would total $3000 in order to reflect the $1500 the club paid to the town for a six-month extension that was established in July.

       Prior to the renewal, the Association was charged $500 per year to operate out of the town-owned 2 River Road property, which it had members provide regular maintenance fixes on.

       Association Commodore and Town Councilor Al Waters had said shortly after the vote that the club had been hoping to renew the lease at the $500 annual payment, but Mayor Enzo Faienza said that rules regarding the referendum binds a town to the language submitted.

       Waters said that the Association had held off on signing the extended lease until the language regarding the cost could be clarified, but seemed satisfied about it when contacted Wednesday.

       “I wish they could have done something with the dollars because it’s putting a stranglehold on the club,” Waters said over the phone. “But other than that, we just have to move on.”

       A few weeks prior, Mayor Enzo Faienza had described the rate as “more than fair” for that property.

       Earlier, Waters had said that the Association may not be able to make its annual donations to organizations around town.

       The latest comes as the town approaches the final week before the current lease’s end-of-month expiration.

       A couple of weeks ago, Waters disputed additional language stating that a renewal at the lease’s next expiration would not be automatic. Waters contended that Salvatore could not alter the language of the agreement, but the Town Manager countered that the provision was there only to spell out standard renegotiation procedure.

       The verbiage was ultimately removed, with Town Attorney Kari Olsen stating that any amendments to the yearly costs laid out in the agreement would have constituted an alteration of the contract.

       The club’s bid to remain at the property received widespread support-expressed mostly through a jam packed public meeting held a few months ago in the Town Hall auditorium. Although the meeting was attended by mostly boat club members-some of which did not live in Cromwell-all of the residents who spoke urged a Council-appointed subcommittee to recommend that the lease be renewed.

       The subcommittee-chaired by Councilor Ed Wenners-had been charged with the task of examining potential “best uses” for the property, and planned to solicit public input in order to submit recommendations to the Council.

       The Association’s call for a vote on the issue-through a petition for a town meeting style count-effectively ended that process, with the Council ultimately opting to decide the matter by way of referendum in order to maximize voter turnout.

       The referendum tally favored the renewal 914 to 425.